Homemade Tomato Trellis

This natural tomato trellis is just for you if you are tired of store bought tomato cages that give way and crumple over half way through the growing season.

Those ugly and bulky cages built out of concrete reinforcing wire just kill the natural look that most would like to achieve in their garden.

This rustic tomato trellis will add beauty to the garden and will allow your tomatos plenty of growing room for the entire season. Here is what you will need and the steps to build your own natural tomato trellis for pennies.

Tools: Pruning saw, pruning shears, cordless drill, deck screws

(Note: Material lengths can be adjusted to suit your needs. If you have a 10 foot row of tomatoes. Make the top horizontal about 11 ft in length. If you want a five foot tall trellis, make the leg supports about seven feet in length.)


For this project I used. Fresh green elm saplings 1 1/2 to 3" in diameter. My row of tomatoes was 15 feet in length and I was building a tomato trellis 6 feet tall.

horizontal support: (1) 2-3" sapling 16' in length

leg supports: (5) 1 1/2-3" saplings 8' in length (3 of these should have a y at the top [see picture])

braces: (6) 1-2 1/2" branches approx. 4' in length; these will be cut trimmed after secured to the trellis


Step 1: Gather the twigs and branches you will need for your project that are listed above. When gathering materials, I always gather more than necessary, and I try to leave them in longer lengths and then cut them as I build the project. This picture shows the horizontal support and the leg supports and braces for the two ends.

Having trouble finding twigs and branches to build with, read this article. After you have gathered your materials, cut them to the size listed above or according to your own garden plan.

Step 2: Starting on one end of the trellis construct a, A shaped, frame using one branch with a Y and one that is straight. The A should be leaning slightly in toward the center.

I like to use the horizontal support to prop up the legs while I secure them together with decking screws (make sure you predrill all of your screw holes 3/4 the length of the screw to prevent splitting of the wood as it dries).

After you have one side screwed together, raise the horizontal support up and place the leg supports for the other end in place and screw together.

tomato trellis

Step 3: Now that the leg supports for both ends are in place secure the horizontal support in place with screws. Use at least 2 screws at each end.

The frame will be quite unstable at this time so you should have someone help holding the frame steady or use 2x4 braces to stabilize your project while you work.

Step 4: Attach two braces on each end of the tomato trellis for lateral stability. Using a forked branch for bracing will add extra stability as well.

Step 5: To prevent sagging of the horizontal support which is 16' in length, it will require support in the middle of the trellis. Use the last y-shaped leg support. Cut the leg support to length so that it fits snugly under the horizontal support and sits firmly on the ground. On each side of the Y place a screw going into the horizontal support.

Step 6: Attach 2 braces to the middle leg support as shown in the picture. Again, using a brace with a Y in it will add extra rigidity to prevent lateral racking or movement.

Step 7: For trellising your tomato, use a 1/4 hemp type string attached at the horizontal support and fastened to the ground with a stake. As your tomato plant grows wrap it around the string and train it vertically. You may also find using a few twist ties may help it to keep going vertical.

I like to drive a 1 1/2 foot stake in the ground at each trellis leg and use a couple of screw to attach the tomato trellis leg to the stake. This will prevent wind from blowing over the trellis and keep it right were you want it.

The tomato trellis can also be used for cucumbers, beans, or peas, and can be moved from place to place in the garden as needed.

This trellis just one of many wonderful rustic gardening design ideas.


Tomato Trellis the perfect replacement for ugly tomato cages

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